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Posted on February 4, 2019 in Interesting Articles

Why do people think you’re lying or exaggerating about your slip and fall claim?

Over the years, I have had the privilege of helping clients who have been seriously injured after slipping/tripping and falling at a store or on a business property. More often than not, these cases won’t settle without us filing a lawsuit and litigating the case extensively. (This is different than most automobile wrecks since the majority of auto wrecks can settle for a reasonable amount without filing a lawsuit.)

Many of my clients have asked:

  • Why does the insurance adjuster treat me like I’m a liar?
  • Why is the defense attorney treating me like a criminal? I was just walking around the corner – it was the employee who left open a dangerous hole, and now I have a torn ACL and tons of medical bills.
  • Why should I settle? The jury is going to believe me!

Well, here’s the answer to those questions:  When jurors, insurance adjusters, and defense attorneys think of a slip and fall claim, they think of someone like Alexander Goldinsky, the 57-year-old independent contractor who was arrested in January of this year and charged with insurance fraud. Watch this video:

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Link to full article: https://abcn.ws/2SgiT57.

This video of Alexander Goldinsky would be funny if it didn’t make me sad for the rest of my clients and claimants who have actually been injured and who have to fight tooth and nail to be made whole through the justice system.

As you can see from the video, Goldinsky clearly dumped a cup of ice on the ground, then plopped himself on the ground and writhed around until someone came to help him. He then filed an insurance claim for his medical bills and treatment. After his arrest, the New Jersey prosecutor stated, “Fraudulent claims cost everyone, and we will aggressively prosecute those who illegally manipulate the system.”

While Mr. Goldinsky’s fraudulent claim is rare, he is the poster child for slip and fall claims. When I was a defense attorney, I thought many of the plaintiffs were like Mr. Goldinsky.  Now that I’ve been representing plaintiffs for years, I know that is not true.  99% of people are good people who unfortunately were put in a bad situation when a business did not keep its premises safe. Unfortunately, a bad apple like Mr. Goldinsky can spoil the whole barrel.

When it’s time to go into a deposition, a settlement conference, or the courtroom, the jury thinks of cases like Mr. Goldinsky’s. It will be up to you and your attorney to overcome this preconceived notion of what you went through when someone created a dangerous condition and hurt you.

I don’t like it, but you can’t tell someone to not be prejudiced – you have to show them why you are not like Mr. Goldinsky. This is not a legal standard. This is just reality. So, what steps can you take to show people you are not like Mr. Goldinsky?

  1. Make sure that a supervisor takes down an incident report at the scene and get the full name of the supervisor and their phone number.
  2. If there are ANY witnesses that came to help you – get their names and phone numbers. You will likely need them later in the case to testify on what they saw.
  3. Get an attorney who can quickly contact the business owner. The attorney can find out if there are any security cameras and find out who to send letters to make sure the evidence is preserved.
  4. If you are hurt, get medical attention as soon as possible.
  5. Don’t talk to the insurance company adjuster without having retained an attorney first.

It may seem cheesy, or like you are ‘out to make a buck’ because you take these steps to get witness and supervisor information. But the fact is, if you don’t have all of this information, you won’t be able to overcome the bias of jurors and insurance adjusters who will likely think that you are just like Mr. Goldinsky – out for a quick buck, making up the whole claim, and costing us all money with higher insurance premiums due to fraudulent insurance claims.

If you have been injured, give me a call at (864) 485-5555. I will be happy to talk with you about how The Melonakos Law Firm can help you with the uphill battle that is a slip and fall or trip and fall claim.  It costs you nothing to talk to me.